Oligosaccharides in Urine, Blood, and Feces of Piglets Fed Milk Replacer Containing Galacto-oligosaccharides

Elisabetta Difilippo, Monique Bettonvil, Rianne Willems, Saskia Braber, Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Prescilla V. Jeurink, Margriet H.C. Schoterman, Harry Gruppen, Henk A. Schols*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are absorbed into the blood (about 1% of the HMO intake) and subsequently excreted in urine, where they may protect the infant from pathogen infection. As dietary galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) have partial structural similarities with HMOs, this study investigated the presence of GOS and oligosaccharides originating from milk replacer in blood serum, urine, and cecal and fecal samples of piglets, as a model for human infants. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and capillary electrophoresis with fluorescence detection, oligosaccharides originating from piglet diet including 3′-sialyllactose and specific GOS ranging from degree of polymerization 3 to 6 were detected in blood serum and in urine of piglets. In blood serum, GOS levels ranged from 16 to 23 μg/mL, representing about 0.1% of the GOS daily intake. In urine, approximately 0.85 g of GOS/g of creatinine was found. Cecum digesta and feces contained low amounts of oligosaccharides, suggesting an extensive GOS intestinal fermentation in piglets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10862-10872
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2015


  • absorption
  • capillary electrophoresis
  • creatinine
  • fermentation
  • GOS
  • intestine
  • liquid chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • pig
  • prebiotics


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